Gourmet Cooking and Kitchen Safety Tips
Gourmet Cooking and Kitchen Safety Tips
Food. You can't survive without it. As long as you have to eat anyway, you may as well enjoy it. The best way to enjoy food is to prepare it yourself, whether that be in a kitchen, on a grill, or with a campfire. There are few things more satisfying than creating a delicious meal with your own hands. The only way to increase the enjoyment one can receive is to share it with family or friends. With the time being spent on preparing food, it would be a good idea to ensure you are using safe practices while preparing and cooking food. Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind, especially in light of the fact that the kitchen can be a very dangerous place. High temperatures, open flames, razor sharp knives, scalding water, and finicky electrical appliances are just SOME of the dangers in a kitchen. Use some good old fashioned common sense combined with the tips I will reveal to you here, and you should be just fine.
Advance Food Preparation
The secret to cooking a good meal is to start with good ingredients and preparation. Once you have everything you need for the meal, lay it all out on the counter in the amounts that the recipe calls for. This way you can see everything that will be going into the meal in a quantifiable manner. Plus, this had the added benefit of allowing you to ensure you have all the required ingredients. There is nothing like getting half way through meal preparation and realizing you are missing a key ingredient or two.
Storing Fruits and Vegetables
One of the greatest weapons in the cooking realm is using fresh fruits and vegetables in your recipes. A challenge to this is that once the food is picked from the tree or pulled from the ground, it starts to go bad. By the time you buy it in the store, it is close to it's expiration. DO not buy any more fresh fruit or vegetables than you need for the next few days, or you will end up wasting some of it when it turns bad. There are a few things you CAN do to get some extra life from your produce.
Storing Frozen Foods
Not every kind of food can be frozen, at least not if you expect to be able to eat it at some point in the future. Further, those foods that CAN be stored in the freezer cannot be left there indefinitely. Once again, that hinges on whether or not you wish them to remain edible. Also, the way that the food is packaged before freezing will affect the length and continued nutrition of your frozen food.
Keeping a Sanitary Kitchen
Imagine that you have prepared a wonderful meal, eaten with great satisfaction, only to become sick as a result the next day? In this scenario, you have likely overlooked something in food preparation or storage that has led to this calamity. Perhaps a dairy product has turned sour, or raw meat has come in contact with other food? There are many things that can cause harm, but mainly they would be due to negligence on the part of the cook. So that you do not make the same mistakes I have in the past, here are some links to help you out.
Cooking Times and Temperatures
Food preparation times vary between the restaurant and your home. Further, depending on what you are preparing while camping, the cooking time an temperature may be wildly different. Many people don't actually know the correct times and temperatures that should be followed. When cooking meat, especially poultry and pork, there are laws regulating the temperature and time in an effort to keep people from getting sick. Undercooked food can be a danger, but overcooked food will ruin the texture and taste. The trick is to get it just right.
Safe Canning Procedures
If done properly, canning is a safe and effective way to preserve foods (outside of the freezer, of course). Through proper canning, bacteria and other microorganisms are destroyed, which would otherwise spoil the food. During the process, as the bacteria is being destroyed, the jar is also sealing itself so that future microorganisms do not enter. Canning may sound complicated and expensive, but in the long run, it will save you money.
Safe Grilling Tips
There are different ways to grill your food, beginning with the source of the flame. You can use propane gas, wood, or charcoal (with or without lighter fluid). The taste of your grilled food will differ depending on the source of your flame. Regardless of the type, they all require open flame – which can be extremely dangerous. Special care needs to be taken to ensure you do not injure yourself or others, cause any property damage, and as a last concern, ruin your food.
Safe Cooking While Camping
When camping, or even when spending the day outdoors at a lake or river, you will probably need to prepare some food. How you do this is up to you; portable kerosene stove, campfire, or grill. There are certain general safety guidelines that should be adhered to regardless of the method of cooking. Also, you do not have access to the conveniences of a modern kitchen, such as a refrigerator and freezer that keep food at a constant temperature.
Nutrition and Your Health
When selected and prepared properly, food that is nutritious will taste fantastic. There seems to be a widely held belief in our society that healthy food tastes bad; this is simply not the case. Once you prepare your own food, from picking the ingredients to storing the leftovers, you will see exactly what goes in to your food. This leads to overall better health and living through a properly balanced diet and nutrition intake. In the end, the balanced diet you will be giving yourself will increase your energy level and overall health. So why not do it?